On 11 November 2022 I discovered something that will shake the world to its foundations (or at least shake the world of Message-fandom to its foundations).

The Message has changed!

Yes you read that correctly. The unthinkable has happened. This short, precious text (sometimes known as the ‘Kinder Surprise warning message’) has been re-written by the scribes in their secret lair within Ferrero headquarters.

Every few weeks I make a point of checking what I call in my book The Codex, an online archive which uploads scans of every Manuscript (sometimes known as the ‘Kinder Surprise warning message sheet’) it can find. I check The Codex on the off-chance that there have been changes to the Manuscript. More specifically, after having contacted Ferrero in 2021 to point out the errors in the Estonian Message, I wanted to know if and when they changed it.

On 11 November 2022, I discovered that the Estonian Message had indeed been corrected – of which, more later – but I also discovered something more extraordinary.

The three most recent Manuscripts uploaded to the Codex – all of which date no earlier that March 2020 – starting with serial number 79030638, contain a revised English Message. It used to be this:

English Kinder surprise warning message

And now it has been changed to this:

Revised English message 2022

[You will have to forgive the poor quality of the scan – I have not encountered a real live version of the revised Manuscript so I am having to rely on the low quality scan found in The Codex]

The changes are fundamental:

  • The Message now starts with ‘ATTENTION’ rather than ‘WARNING’.
  • The middle sentence containing the 3 year age limit has been removed entirely.
  • The final sentence has been revised to include definite articles and to clarify what the ‘small parts’ are.
  • The final sentence does not begin with a capital letter in the word ‘the’. This may be a mistake or it may have been deliberate for unknown reasons.

It would be the height of arrogance that I, a lowly Message-fan, would speculate that I might have contributed to a change in a text so vitally important. Yet I cannot shake the feeling that the Ferrero scribes are communicating with me in some way. After all, I have had no luck in contacting them via official and unofficial channels (their rulers have likely forbidden it) and in the book and on social media I have beseeched the scribes and/or their familiars to get in touch. So the only option for them might be a coded response.

Switching to serious mode for a moment, this isn’t as daft a possibility as it sounds. The changes that have been to the English Message all concern elements that I discuss at length in my book:

  • I discuss the difference between ‘attention’ and ‘warning’ as words (with ‘warning’ being more common in Northern Europe, the change to attention in the English Message seems vaguely subversive)
  • I discuss the mystery of the redundancy or otherwise of the 3 year age limit which only used to appear in seven Messages (and now only six)
  • I discuss the clipped, chilly and official register of Message-speak versus more naturalistic ways of writing (again, the change towards the latter register also seems a bit subversive).

Still unconvinced? Well the other big news is that the Estonian Message has been corrected! And this might be due to my reporting the errors to Ferrero a while back. This is what the Estonian Message used to look like:

This version includes macrons (which are not found in Estonian) instead of tildes (which are). The mistake is compounded by the misalignment of the macrons in the words ‘voivad’ and ‘voi’.  The corrected version now looks like this (again, apologies for the poor scan):

Estonian Message 2022

The changes go further too: the first word is no longer followed by an exclamation mark and the second to the sixth words are now lower case: The first letter of the word ‘Need’ is now capitalised. But the most interesting change is that the ISO code for the Estonian language has now been changed from the 2-letter code ‘ET’ to the 3-letter code ‘EST’. This is the only 3-letter code on the entire Manuscript! And once again, I do discuss ISO codes in the book.

So it isn’t impossible that the scribes at Ferrero are speaking to me through covert changes to the Manuscript. It’s not just that they are making changes to Messages I have talked extensively about, they are also making changes in aspects of the Messages that I am most interested in and would be most likely to spot.

My response to them is: ‘I see you, I love you. One day we must talk face-to-face. I am patient. If it takes decades for you to feel safe enough to contact me, then I will wait decades.’

And also: ‘Why haven’t you corrected the mistakes in the Azerbaijani or the Armenian Messages yet???’ You really need to check out this page on my website.

Back, once again, to slightly more serious mode: The other major change to the Manuscript is that the Latvian Message has been almost entirely re-written. I don’t talk about this in the book but I did post on my website that there were some errors to the diacritics. However, the changes go way beyond that.

Here is the best scan I have of the revised Manuscript. Can anyone spot further changes?


2022 Manuscript side A

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